We had a very short rainy season this year. Though it is not time for Autumn, the ‘nandiyarvattai’ that peeps into my living room is already changing its coat to bright and pale yellows, in preparation to give way to new life and an early Spring (the semblance of Winter is too short to occupy space).
A moorhen that lost its partner was grieving for the last four days anxiously going ‘kuk-kuk’ late into the night. Today it was not to be seen. Meanwhile rejoicing in the birth of their little chick are two crows who have built a cozy nest in the huge jackfruit tree. It is joy to see the adult crows fussing over their baby. The mother keeps flying away but stays within a radius of 20-30ft., never leaving the chick unattended. Every now and then she keeps darting back to the nest and feeding the hungry chick – it seems to have an open beak all the time reminding me of little babies. The chick looks as cute! This morning as I was searching for the mourning moorhen my eyes rested on the hungry feeding chick and I thought – a lesson? Nature rebuilds and flourishes, no matter what!
On the homefront, the children have got tired of the unexpected holidays brought by ‘swine flu’ and are waiting for school to reopen. It is not very nice to have holidays, they say, when parents have got to go to work. To brighten their spirits I made a minty lemonade and some oven-dried tomatoes to top over crisp toast. My daughter has been keeping me a little anxious as she has been having fever, cold and cough over the last week. I have the doctor’s assurance that there is nothing to fear but then, I am worse than the crow!
The recipe for the oven-dried tomaotes was inspired from ‘Fingerfood’, by Elsa Petersen-Schepelern. I bought the book at the ‘Ashish Book Centre Sale’ sometime back in Sunderabhai Hall, mainly for the excellent photography by William Lingwood. Most of the recipes are non-veg but can be easily substituted by suitable vegetarian or vegan ingredients. The tomato recipe was perfect for us but I made some changes to the mint-lemonade. They were just rightly crisp around the edges and soft inside. The flavour of crushed garlic and olive oil go well with the slightly tart and slightly sweet taste of the tomatoes. I wish I had topped them on pizza or ciabatta bread!
Here they are:
Based on ‘Fingerfood’ by Elsa Petersen-Schepelern
Yield – 16 pieces
Level – Nothing can be easier than this!
8 tomatoes (they were all about a little over an inch wide), firm, red and ripe
Sugar (Just a little to sprinkle)
Sea salt (to taste)
4 garlic cloves, slivered lengthwise
Cut of the tops of the tomatoes and then cut them into halves, lengthwise.
Spoon out the core (seeds and flesh) with a sharp knife or spoon.
Arrange them apart in a lined oven tray. Top each half with slivers of garlic cloves, a pinch of sugar and sea salt.
Roast in a pre-heated oven at 160 deg. C. for about 40minutes to an hour till crisp round the edges, browned and collapsed.
If you would like to use them as toppings for pizza, bruschetta or bread remove them now. If you would like to serve them as nibbles or bites roast some more – 5 to 10minutes.
The tomatoes never made it to the toast as they were eaten up ‘enroute’. Jr.H declared that the minty lemonade was not her cup of ‘lemonade’:), and Jr.P slurped his glass in glee saying it was a tad too lemony. Before I could voice my opinion I found that their shot glasses were empty and asking for a refill! Now you know, how bored they were – they were just looking for excuses to complain. 🙂